Shreya Dubey is a student of Psychology at Daulat Ram College, who got to attend the reputed Stanford Summer School program. Her choice of subject was Affective Science, Neuroscience, and Social Psychology, offered by the Psychology Department of the university. She secured an admirable GPA of 3.9. She talks about her experience at the institute, and of walking in the same places as some of her greatest idols.
Q. What made you choose summer school over an internship? Did you have any notions about studying in the US specifically? In your opinion, what should an Indian student keep in mind before deciding to undertake such a course abroad?
Shreya: Ever since the start of my undergraduate degree at Daulat Ram College, I learnt about the pioneers in the field of psychology and the research carried out by them. I always wanted to know what it’d feel like to be in the same place as these researchers. I believe that internships are important but thorough knowledge of the subject matter is a must before trying it out on the field.
I always felt that the education system in the US is more liberal and research oriented, and it turned out to be true. In addition to better infrastructure and more possibilities, there are also a wide range of subjects to choose from. The curriculum taught is nearly the same but due to abundance of resources, application of this knowledge is better abroad.
I feel that before investing oneself in such a course abroad, one should be passionate about learning. It is a rigorous and well planned course, and creative thinking is encouraged and appreciated. I can say that the learning experience is nothing short of transformative. It changes the person that you are.
Q. How is the education system in USA different from that in India (DU specifically)? Which changes must India begin inculcating immediately?
Shreya: From what I have experienced so far, I think the syllabus is not very different in both countries, especially in psychology. However, the examinations in USA largely involve application of the learnt material. Knowing is not enough, one must understand the concepts and should be able to apply them in real life situations. The availability of better infrastructure allows one to go beyond textbooks. I believe that the same is required in India. Specifically in DU, I feel that free access to WiFi is a basic facility that should be provided. More access to the University research database should be provided, even to undergraduate students. In this era of technology, a more comprehensive web based system will enable us to perform better.
Q. What made you choose Stanford University for your field of study? How would you say your degree compares to similar degrees in other institutes in terms of syllabus/ subject content and future prospects?
Shreya: Oh, it was always a clear-cut choice! The Psychology Department at Stanford is ranked number one in the world and there is no other place I’d rather have been. I chose the courses DU does not offer at the undergraduate level, and it was a wonderful experience. I made friends from all around the world. The degree is an added advantage to my CV as now I have knowledge of some emerging subfields in psychology which are not taught as prominently in India. I now have a global standing in terms of academia and can aim and achieve better things in the future. All that I learnt during the summer was totally worth the investment.
Q. What tasks did you undertake as a member of the marketing team? As the Global Ambassador for Stanford Summer School ’16, how do you plan on best representing the University?
Shreya: Being a part of the Marketing Team was an altogether new experience for an introvert like me. Summer at Stanford is far from mundane – there is so much happening on and off campus that you always find yourself surrounded by things to do. As members of the Marketing Team, we were supposed to cover the various events happening around the campus, ranging from Movie Screenings to Handwriting Analysis Workshops. We also contributed pictures and blog pieces about various weekend trips all around California, be it Napa Valley, San Francisco, or to the Google Headquarters.
My responsibilities as the Stanford Summer Global Ambassador mainly involve promoting this amazing opportunity amongst students of DU. I am currently in touch with Presidents of some colleges and hope to hold small events across the University soon. I believe that it is important that students get to know about these global programs so that they get to experience more than just their own culture and develop a global sense of education.
Q. What was a typical day at campus like? What do students do, when not attending classes? Are extra-curricular activities and sports an active part of the lifestyle of a Stanford student?
Shreya: With a campus spread over 8,000 acres with several libraries, tech lounges, swimming pools, tennis courts, an exclusive shopping mall, football fields, and the memorial church, I think Stanford has something in store for everyone. A typical day at campus involves biking to class, and after class activities vary according to one’s interests. For me, time after class was mainly spent at the library or strolling around the campus. I swam occasionally, and devoted a lot of time to playing basketball.
Activities other than studies are such an integral part that they don’t even use the word- extracurricular. It is pretty much a lifestyle choice and everyone indulges in some thing or the other. Someone plays the cello at the Church, while someone else does Yoga or spends time at the gym – there is just so much to do that you can never get enough.
Q. Being a college student living in one of the most popular destinations in the world, how did you manage your finances apart from the tuition? What did you find yourself spending the most on?
Shreya: Being the foodie that I am, most of my expenses were centered on trying various food items. There are jobs on campus for visiting students. I managed my expenses mainly from participating in research studies happening around the campus. In fact, I think I was able to save around $150.
Q. What was your most profound memory at Stanford University?
Shreya: My most profound memory has to be the day of our Orientation. That day, I looked around myself and realized where I was. I was walking the same corridors as the two most influential people in my life – Dr. Robert Bandura and Dr. Philip Zimbardo. When I reached the site of the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment, I could actually feel a connection to the place and felt a lump in my throat as I felt for my subject as I never had before. I know that those weeks at Stanford will keep me motivated to be my best as a person, and as a scholar. If you have a passion for something, be it anything, Stanford is the place to be.
Q. Please describe the application procedure for the 2016 session and share relevant links.
Shreya: The applications for Summer Session 2016 are now open!
1) Courses Offered: The students have a plethora of courses to choose from. Over 175 courses are offered in 35 departments within the schools of Humanities and Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering.
2) Application Deadlines: You can apply now and save on the application fee. The applications for the early period are now open. Undergraduate and Graduate International students can apply till March in General application period. The Late period admissions extend till April 24, 2016. Online courses are also offered starting this summer quarter.
3) Silicon Valley Innovation Academy: For all the innovative people who want to change the world with their ideas, the SVIA is a golden chance to learn from the best, and have the chance to present ideas to successful entrepreneurs at Stanford Sharks.
More details regarding Summer Session 2016 can be found at https://summer.stanford.edu/